A cowboy’s hat was one of the ways the Old West men let their personalities shine. Though many Americans today have a clear picture of what a cowboy hat looked like, original cowboy hats were customized in various ways to fit the needs and preferences of the wearer. There are countless individual customizations to the basic cowboy hat, but each customization is made to a certain piece of the hat.
The overall size of the hat is one way that cowboy hats can be individualized. Some hats are nearly as large as sombreros, while others are just large enough to fit over the wearer’s head. The proportion of each part of the hat to the other can also be designed per the wearer’s preferences. For example, some hats have small crowns and huge brims, while some have tall crowns and small brims.
The shape and bend of the hat’s brim can also be customized in countless ways. Some brims are round while others are oval. Brims can be exactly the same length all around the head, or they can be longer at the front and the back of the head and shorter along the sides. Brims can be flat all around the head or curved up all around the head, or they can be a mixture of flat and curved.
The height of the crown is also customizable. Some hats fit snugly around the head. Others have several inches of extra height, making the wearer appear much taller from a distance. The shape of the crown is only somewhat customizable, as the crown must still fit around the head properly at the brim to ensure that the hat stays on the wearer.
Cowboy hats are typically creased on the top of the crown. Hats that fit snugly around the skull have no room for creases; hats with extra height at the top of the crown are often creased in certain patterns. One common crease is a single dip along the top of the hat dividing the crown into two bumps. Another common crease is a set of two indents along the sides of the hat above the ears that channels the crown of the hat into one long peak. Crease possibilities are nearly endless, so long as there is enough room between the crown of the hat and the top of the head for the material to be manipulated.
- CanadianCowboy.com: Hat Guide
- “The Cowboy Hat Book”; Ritch Rand and William Reynolds; 2003
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